A report recently published by the work-life charity Working
Families and Bright Horizons has found that UK workplaces are
failing to support fathers' wishes to take an active role in
raising their children.
The study suggests that workplace culture risks creating a
'fatherhood penalty' as fathers consider sidelining their
careers to achieve a better work and family life balance. With
millennials (16-35 years) particularly affected by these
considerations, it is clear that this risk is not going away.
Among other things, the study found that:
Nearly 40% of fathers would rather take a pay cut if it allowed
them to spend more time with their families, and 53% want to
downshift to a less stressful job to improve family
7 out of 10 fathers said they would consider their childcare
needs before taking a new job or a promotion.
Nearly 1 in 5 fathers characterised their employers as
unsympathetic about childcare.
With growing numbers of employees, and fathers in particular,
dissatisfied by their work-life balance, what things might
employers– particularly those operating in stressful or
demanding environments – consider to ensure that they retain
their best employees, both male and female?
Gender stereotypes – does workplace
culture ensure that male employees feel able to work flexibly, or
part-time, or to take time off for family without fear of being
Commitment perception – are those
who work flexibly or take leave for family deemed less committed to
the organisation than those who work full-time?
Pay – are pay considerations
forcing employees to keep working when they might prefer to take
family leave? Take up among fathers of shared parental leave has
been low, estimated at around 2% - 8%. While enhanced maternity pay
has become the norm at many workplaces, the same is not true for
most fathers on leave. Many feel that the current rate of paternity
payments (£139.58 per week) is insufficient to support a
Awareness – are fathers-to-be aware
of their rights and what policies their workplace offers? Meetings
between HR and mothers-to-be are standard and maternity leave is a
long-standing right, but how aware are employees of their right to
take shared parental leave?
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